Milestone for blind busker
FOR 30 years blind busker Graham Pampling has been entertaining people in Brisbane's Queen Street Mall.
Over those three decades he has helped raise the spirits of commuters and money to aid visually impaired children use specialty computer programs.
To mark the milestone the community decided to give back to Mr Pampling, raising more than $30,000 in eight days through a Go Fund Me campaign.
The saxophone player from Fitzgibbon said life was full of challenges but the community support was unexpected and unbelievable.
"I've got one year to go before I am 80 years old and I've learned not to count my chickens before they hatch," Mr Pampling said.
"I didn't expect this, I'm a humble person and just bought computers for blind children from the money I made busking.
"There were 1029 contributers and I didn't think I knew that many people, but I do now.
"It really made me feel warm and fuzzy inside, to read all the comments."
Over the years Mr Pampling worked with blind children at Narbethong, Jamboree Heights and Mt Gravatt state schools as well as Cavendish Road State High School.
"I was assisting blind kids to learn computers for about 10 years," he said.
"It was fabulous, very satisfying, I'm not a teacher, I only help them learn.
"They're now at university, studying and downloading all their information from the internet, studying the same as a sighted child.
"The grass doesn't change colour and the colours of the walls don't change when you're blind.
"Everyone needs something to do, to get out of bed for (like helping children and playing music)."
Mr Pampling learned how to play saxophone in 1956 and played music in country towns for about 30 years, after going blind due to a genetic condition, he decided to play music in the city to see how he would go.
After hearing this story, law clerk Benjamin Webb said he wanted to let other people know about Mr Pampling by setting up a fundraising page.
"I was reading a book on my lunch break and heard Graham on the phone say he was in Albert Street but he was in Ann Street, so I asked if he needed a hand," Mr Webb said.
"He's such a nice bloke and a staple of the community, I remember moving to Brisbane and going to see him and have a chat.
"I connect with his story and thought it was something other people would connect to.
"I had no idea what was going to happen it (the campaign) blew up overnight.
"He's phenomenal, other people would say go for it and he said no, cap it at $30,000 because it was more than enough and he never expected it to get that far."
After a recent hip surgery Mr Pampling said he was having difficulty moving around but was very thankful to be able to continue playing music.